The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey was published in 1942 by the Chicago Public Library Omnibus Project of the Works Progress Administration of Illinois. The purpose of the project was to translate and classify selected news articles that appeared in the foreign language press from 1855 to 1938. The project consists of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities of Chicago.

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  • [Association documents] -- June 29, 1873
    Sinai Congregation, Board of Directors Minutes

    To the President and the Trustees of the Sinai Congregation.

    Chicago, Illinois

    June 8, 1873

    Gentlemen!

    I have carefully read the Cincinnati Call for a Congregational Conference for the purpose of establishing a Jewish Theological Institute, and respectfully present to you my humble opinion upon the subject, according to my best judgement and conviction.

    That we need an institution that teaches and authoritatively represents Judaism before the country at large, that promotes Jewish lore and learning, and educates our future rabbis and teachers, surely none doubts or denies, who has the interests of our religion and our people at heart. But about the necessary 2conditions and modes of establishing such an institution, certain differences must naturally prevail, emanating from the different views and conceptions of Judaism held by the various congregations and their leaders.

    Take for instance the orthodox standpoint and you need not set up grand institutes on so large a scale. Provide for the studying youth a learned Talmudist, able to translate the Bible with its Hebrew commentaries, Talmud and Shulchan Aruch, in the English language. Let them be instructed by some professor of English literature and rhetoric, in or outside of the college. Let them graduate as doctors in some college, and have them acquire from any well known rabbi, their diploma as ordained rabbis. What need they more? Why should these candidates not be qualified to teach and to preach Judaism just as well as any Talmud student with his "Morcun" in the old country, where there were no Jewish Academies until recently?

    But things have quite another aspect from the view of Progressive or the so called Reform Judaism. It is certainly not enough for the Reform Rabbi to have 3read the Bible in the original and to have traversed the vast ocean of Talmudical lore. You want him to know the history of the Bible through the various ages, climes and states of culture, the history of Judaism through all its phases and forms. You want him to have clear ideas of the growth and development of religion at large, and of the progressive stages of Judaism especially. You cannot be satisfied in having appointed as an expounder of Reform Judaism a man, who professes the twenty-four Books of the Bible to be the only true revelation of God and "the Talmud to be the only legal and obligatory interpretation of the law," except you belie and betray yourselves and the holy mission of Israel at the present age.

    You will not promote the spiritual welfare of your children, by trusting them to a teacher, who, well versed as he may be in the Hebrew and the Catechism, is wanting in sound principles of treating the miracles, traditions and national laws of the Bible, in accordance with our mature knowledge of the laws of nature and the human mind. Nor will those rabbis truly preserve the Jewish identity, 4who, being the leaders of Reform Congregations, still clinging to the letter of the Bible, forbid to eat unclean meat, or command to believe that God commenced his creations on Sunday, formed sun, moon, and stars on Wednesday, and rested on Saturday. Wherefore alone that day, whether really observed or violated by all, must be kept as the Jewish day of the Lord?

    Judaism is larger than that. It comprehends the Levitical law as well as the religion of humanity taught by the Prophets, the philosophical doctrines of Philo the Greek, of Maimonides and Ben Cabiral and the mystical lore of Isaac Luria, the narrow minded letter worship of Joseph Caro and the critical views of Ibu Ezra. Judaism is an historically progressive religion and must be conceived and taught as such. But the history of Judaism is not written yet. Jewish science is but of yesterday. The man, who created the Jewish Science, is yet among the living. Jewish Theology exists but in hidden sources and in fragmentary outlines. There is no way cleared up, no guide given to aid the traveler through the sandy desert of the Talmud. A few historical and 5biographical books and sketches, written in the German language, are all the help in store for the student. Neither is the Bible literature cultivated yet by Jewish scholars of modern time, as to proffer its ripe fruits to the hungry searcher after truth. You must apply to the works of Christian professors, written in German, for any thorough instruction in the Bible. So is the whole Jewish science, comprehended by very few but a crude, chaotic mass, still awaiting conception and creative minds, capable of moulding and systematizing it. It is therefore not so easy a task, as people commonly think, to train and raise our future rabbis. It requires an immense store of learning to enable a man for this high task. Such men are not at all in abundance in Germany, far less in this country. Indeed the establishment of a Theological Institute would lay claim upon all the rabbis of German university education to cooperate, that a true success might be secured.

    It would certainly require the great metropolitan city as its seat, on account of the best and the most complete colleges and libraries, which needs must be at the students hand.

    6

    Sinai Congregation, Board of Directors, Minutes, June 29, 1873.

    Now considering all this, I personally do not think the time has come already for the erection of such a great edifice. Where is our youth desirous to devote their lives to the holy vocation of Jewish ministry? Our children lack as yet, that holy zeal and enthusiasm, that fervent pride of professing and preclaiming Judaism. Old Judaism they never learned to revere, and modern, enlightened Judaism has not yet taken deep roots in the Jewish hearts and homes. Neither is the Religious school, in its present state the right nursery for our future rabbis. Besides, we want English books, good and appropiate Bible versions, in short, a Jewish American Literature, for the spiritual nourishment of the studying youth. Not even the first foundation can be laid yet for the great educational institution in question. If I were to tell my private opinion. I would say, "Get, for the present, your rabbis an teachers from abroad. Import them from Germany until they are familiarized, more and more, with American language and customs, until they have harmoniously blended and moulded the free inquiring German mind with the practical and easy American form. Concerning the puplis, who desire to follow the vocation of Ministry, send them, whenever you have any, to Germany." They cannot do without a 7thorough knowledge of German. They can never become accomplished scholars, without being able to study the German writings at their disposal. Still, notwithstanding this, I would at any time, gladly welcome the organization of a Theological Institute, if I should anticipate a real success. No doubt, a Jewish College, well managed by competent and trustworthy spiritual leaders would reflect much credit and esteem upon our people, neither would it fail to have the most elevating and ennobling influence upon our internal affairs.

    But to come to the point - is the college, taken in view by the Gincinnati Call, such as to arouse well founded hopes and expectations of such nature? No, Gentlemen. 1. There you see a boundary line drawn between the Western congregations of American Reform Judaism. 2. There you see united five Cincinnati Congregations of very different opinions and shades, making effort to centralize Judaism of the West for some told and untold purposes, of which the foundations of a college is to form but a part. Mark well, the word Reform 8or Progress is not even mentioned in the paper! 3. There you find the whole management of such a great educational institution, laid entirely in the hands of laymen, noblehearted gentlemen indeed, but unlearned and not capable of selecting the right men for such high and important positions as professors and directors of a Jewish College, without the guidance of their spiritual leaders, while even these, whose influence upon them in this project is otherwise sufficiently known, are for some reason passed by in silence.

    Regarding all this I respectfully recommend to you, gentlemen of the board, to decline to take active part in said conference, giving the following reasons: 1. We heartily acknowledge your undertaking to establish a Jewish Theological Institute to be a very noble and praise-worthy one, deserving for itself every credit and support; but we feel surprised to see you call for a conference for the purpose tendered to the congregations of the West and the South and not extended to the East. Such a geographical separation we can by no means approve 9of, nor do we apprehend any benificial result for the cause of Progressive Judaism to derive from it, whereas we willingly offer our best help and effort to cooperate with all the Reform Congregations of the country in establishing a college, whenever time and circumstances seem to be proper and favorable. 2. We are not in favor of placing the organization and administration of an institution of so eminently scientific nature, in the hands of laymen, who, in all their actions, depend upon their spiritual guides, which we expect to see, the name of those respective spiritual leaders put at the head of the undertaking and the extent of their influence made very conspicuous and distinct. 3. We reject the formation of a union of congregations for the purpose of preserving the Jewish identity, or some other purpose of impalpable character, because we cannot help fore-seeing danger and obstacles in the way of Progressive Judaism from such organizations. We most fervently pray for union and concord among all the congregations of the East and the West, yet more we yearn and strive for true enlightenment and progress. The God of Israel is our uniting banner, and the true salvation of the human family - our scope.

    Dr. K. Kohler.

    To the President and the Trustees of the Sinai Congregation. Chicago, Illinois June 8, 1873 Gentlemen! I have carefully read the Cincinnati Call for a Congregational Conference for the purpose ...

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  • [Association documents] -- May 11, 1876
    Sinai Congregation, Board of Directors Minutes

    The chairman presented a communication which he had received from Lewis May of the committee appointed by New York congregations for the purpose of calling a convention of representatives of the various kindred institutions, to take place in the City of New York on the 24th of May, with the view of establishing a College of Hebrew learning.

    The chairman presented a communication which he had received from Lewis May of the committee appointed by New York congregations for the purpose of calling a convention of representatives of ...

    Jewish
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  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- December 08, 1879
    City News

    The board of the Jewish Educational Society held a meeting yesterday at the Sinai Synagogue, Indiana Avenue and 31st Street. Hermann Felsenthal acted as chairman, and explained that the purpose of the conference was to elect new officers and to consider building a new school. The following gentlemen were elected: Hermann Felsenthal, president; Lazarus Silvermann, vice-president; Michael Greenebaum, treasurer; J. W. Rubel, secretary. The problem involving the building of a new school was discussed at length, and the educational aspect was considered in particular. The question arose whether only Hebrew should be taught or other subjects included--sewing for girls, for instance. It was finally decided to refer the matter to a committee of four--Messrs. Felsenthal, Gersoni, Witkowski, and Greenebaum--and to give them authority to make the necessary arrangements.

    Messrs. Eleasoff, Silvermann, and Hexter were named members of the committee on lectures.

    2

    The assembly then adjourned until December 21.

    The board of the Jewish Educational Society held a meeting yesterday at the Sinai Synagogue, Indiana Avenue and 31st Street. Hermann Felsenthal acted as chairman, and explained that the purpose ...

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  • Jewish Advance -- March 25, 1881
    The Public-School Readers (Advertisement)

    Motto: "He who watereth shall be watered again." Analytical Third Reader, p. 135.

    The above wise and highly suggestive passage came to our attention as we leaved through the book from which we quote above. This book contains the mental food which is offered our youngsters in the public schools. It contains something better than mental food: spiritual sweetmeats, for instance. Thus a little story of a boy who was so disconsolate because he had refused to indulge in the whim of his dying little sister, closes with this pious wish: "May the blessed Jesus so keep you, that you may never have to mourn" (p. 27). In verses on a wonderful little boy who had two hands, two feet, etc., that prodigy is praised because

    "The Lord's little servant

    He's trying to be." (p. 66)

    2

    And in a morning hymn sung to the peculiar One-Three Divinity of Christianity, the children are made to pray:

    "My sins forgiven,

    And let me live,

    Blest Saviour, near Thy side." (p. 82)

    The following piece from the Second Reader of the same analytical series is disgustingly repulsive to non-Christians:

    "Would my little reader be beautiful in heaven? Go to the same fountain, drink of the same spirit, love the same Jesus, and you shall go to that beautiful land and be an angel there. There, all tears shall be wiped away; and there will be no more sorrows and crying; neither shall anything enter that causeth fear.

    O, who would not love Jesus

    And dwell with Him above,

    Where sorrow never enters

    Where all is peace and love?"

    3

    We do not believe that this manner of spreading belief in Jesus is quite in harmony with the spirit of a strictly non-sectarian education for which alone our public schools may claim the support of the people at large.

    Motto: "He who watereth shall be watered again." Analytical Third Reader, p. 135. The above wise and highly suggestive passage came to our attention as we leaved through the book ...

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  • The Occident -- March 16, 1883
    The Jewish Educational Society Once More

    At a preliminary meeting recently held of the directors of this society, the above subject was freely discussed. When in the years 1877-78, this organization was first found, a warm sentiment prevailed to give the children some facilities for acquiring the Hebrew language. Quite a number of our Jewish citizens freely subscribed a regular stipend of four dollars per annum. A fund of four-hundred dollars was at once realized as a nucleus and Mr. H. Felsenthal then secretary or treasurer, held that fund in trust. For some reason no other efforts were made to prosecute or make a beginning. Not only the society lacked interest therein, but the Jewish public of Chicago showed an ulter apathy in the undertaking.....Whether the society was one of policy or not, it has proved a palpable failure; not only for the lack of interest evinced on the part of the Israelites of Chicago, but even the board were passive in the matter.

    2

    The greatest obstacle however, proved to be children themselves, who were not willing to submit to an exclusive Hebrew education. The difficulties in that direction were lucidly given in many articles on this theme through these columns. In fact our Sabbath school teachers knew this as well as the Synagogue Directors.....It is now freely admitted by even the moderate orthodox Israelites everywhere that the sphere of exclusive Hebrew schools is not only useless, but abortive of educational advantages to our rising Israelites in every sense.....It seems that the Board of the above society (now) proposes to aid two worthy institutions with the fund on hand and such additional subscriptions as our charitably inclined citizens will extend equally between the Industrial Society recently instituted and the Kindergarten, all under the auspices of the Jewish Ladies of this city.....The Industrial School, as now successfully in vogue every Friday afternoon at B'nai Sholon Temple, is destined to achieve a worthy name among the most charitable institutions.

    3

    Poor children are taught, clothed and fed there under the most benigh influence of our Jewish ladies. The recently organized Kindergarten called into life by Johanna Lodge No. 9, at the suggestion of Dr. and Mrs. E. G. Hirsch, is no less one of the much needed institutions in which the poor will find a helpmeet.

    At a preliminary meeting recently held of the directors of this society, the above subject was freely discussed. When in the years 1877-78, this organization was first found, a warm ...

    Jewish
    I A 1 a, II B 2 f, I C
  • [Association documents] -- February 19, 1884
    Sinai Congregation, Executive Board Minutes

    We read the following communication from the Superintendent (of the Sabbath School), Dr. E. G. Hirsch, to wit:

    The fundamental proposition, which I would advance and which is without doubt, sure of your unanimous consent, is this: The school and the pulpit must agree in their teachings. The school's main object is to prepare our children for an active and intelligent participation in the aims and ends of the congregation's life. Our congregation is liberal, but still within the lines of historical Judaism. All liberal religions agree in making morals the cardinal essence of religion; while on the other hand, a Jewish congregation is the heir of an historical movement, the main outlines of which every Jew should be acquainted with. In this double character of our congregation, are indicated most clearly the lines of instruction for our school. The child confided to our care, should leave us well equipped with moral ideas and the historical knowledge of the growth of Judaism. Happily, experience has shown that either of these two branches can well be utilized in behalf of the other. Moral ideas can be inculcated by means of Jewish 2history and literature, while what is learned in the moral lesson, can easily be turned to good account for the purposes of historical instruction.

    The great difficulty in the way of a successful accomplishment of the work is the lack of good teachers and good manuals written from our point of view. Volunteer teachers are scarcely fitted to the task. Their zeal and enthusiasm is indeed generally of a much higher order than that of professional paid teachers. But besides pedagogical tact, knowledge of a certain kind is required.

    To charge the superintendent with the preparation of the volunteer teachers is unreasonable, not on account of his own personal inconvenience, but on account of the impossibility to change in a few hours into competent instructors, well meaning and more or less well informed graduates of our high-schools and so-called universities.

    Nor can a professional Hebrew teacher of the old style fill the requirments satisfactorily. In all probability, he is still less competent than our 3paid or unpaid volunteer teachers have been. If the congregation desires to so reorganize our school as to come up to the standard, at least one competent professional teacher should be on its staff. He, in conjunction with the superintendent, might undertake to fill the other places; and train the other teachers gradually so as to adopt in their class work our methods and so carry out our designs. Besides three, or at least two, more instructors will be needed.

    Proper manuals are also a desideratum hard to fill. To be brief, we need a sensible Biblical history, with a Biblical reader and extracts from post-Biblical literature. 2. A post-Biblical history, 3. A compendium for instruction in Ethics, to which might be added a short history of Judaism and the beliefs of the Jews. Who is to write these books and who is to publish them, is another question which I cannot answer.

    The course in our school should extend over six years - from eight to fourteen. With a little interest on the part of the parents, discipline might easily be maintained. A practical plan of the division in the studies, and 4for the maintenance of discipline could easily be framed, after teachers and books have been found.

    Emil G. Hirsch.

    We read the following communication from the Superintendent (of the Sabbath School), Dr. E. G. Hirsch, to wit: The fundamental proposition, which I would advance and which is without doubt, ...

    Jewish
    I A 2 a, I C, I A 1 a
  • The Occident -- April 16, 1886
    Polish and Russian Jews in Chicago

    The number of Israelites hailing from Russia, has since a few years, largely increased in our city. Not by dozens and not by hundreds do they now come. It is said that there are now several thousands of them living in Chicago. Though their majority may be poor, yet there are a considerable number among who by their thrifty habits, their industry and economy, have become quite wealthy and who occupy a very honorable and respected position in society and in the city.

    Of the majority, it may be said that they are illiterate; illiterate in the sense in which this word is commonly understood. In Hebrew lore, there are very many of them who have the Talmud, the Midrash, the Paskim, and other parts of the Hebrew literature, throughly studied and mastered in their own peculiar ways and methods, and have them, so to say, at their fingers end.

    2

    Of the masses, it must be said, that the education they received in their native country was at least a very onesided one. Excluded from general society, suffering under anti-Jewish prejudices, living under oppressive tyrannical laws, made for them exclusively, they had to struggle on in a mental ghetto as well as in a real ghetto.

    They grew up among themselves; they lived among themselves mostly in bitter poverty; they had to maintain their own Jewish schools, in which only Hebrew was taught.....der Talmud und der Talmud, sie wussten anders nicht so reads a line in one of Chamisso's ballads....and thus they came over to this country, into the sharp atmosphere of life in America.

    3

    It is now to be wondered at that it takes some years until these poor people who deserve the sincere sympathy of every humane Israelite, are more or less Americanized? We mean "Americanized" in the better sense of word.

    We have just said that the masses, aside from their Hebrew learning, are to be termed as illiterate. Yet there are several among the Polish Jews of Chicago, who visited higher schools and universities in Europe and who posess general culture and scientific training in a high degree. There are physicians among them of deserved reputation, (Dr. Kadison, Dr. Findelstein, and others); there are among them jurists, engineers, mathematicians, and so forth. And so it can be demonstrated by facts that not every Jew coming from Eastern Europe is an "ignorant Polak."

    4

    Of Polish-Hebrew congregations, there are quite a number here. The four principle ones are:-

    1. The Beth Hammidrash Haggadol, whose Rabbi is the learned and pious Rev. Dr. Jacob Gerson Lesser.

    2. The Beth Hammidrash Hechadash; the erudite Rev. Dr. Eliezer Anixter is the Rabbis of this flourishing congregation.

    3. The Ohabey Sholom (Mariampoler) congregation; their spiritual adviser and leader is the ever active Rev. Dr. Olperstein.

    4. The Anshe Russia; we do not know who are at the head of this congregation.

    5

    A number of smaller congregations exist who also have their own Rabbanim (Rabbis and Cantors) and Hazzanim. There is more than one Hazzan here who truly excells in chanting the prayers, in singing and musical training. Rev. Dr. Kleinovitz, Rev. Dr. Cantor, and so forth, are greatly admired precentors among our Polish co-religionists.

    Some months ago a Hebrew Literary Association was established under the name Hebrath Dorashe Safruth Ha-ibrith, which promises to do effective beneficial work for and among their countrymen and co-religionists.

    This association has already commenced to collect a library (not merely of Jewish books, general literature has also found a place in it), it has also established regular evening classes for instruction in various branches, and it will no doubt, 6promote a spirit of self-emancipation in some regards, and such self-emancipation, as all other kinds of self-help, is far more productive of good and lasting results than work coming from without, even if the same is as well meant as possible.

    We must not forget to mention that our Polish Jews deserve appreciation and credit for what they do for the schooling of poor children.

    There are Hebrew free schools in this city, if we are not mistaken, two... almost exclusively supported by the Polanders themselves, and these schools are visited by a large number of children. Of one of these schools, of the Montefaire Schools, we have recently heard that it is financially, in great distress, and that it needs aid and support if it shall continue in its noble work. Come forward, bretheren, ye who are blessed with wealth, come forward and support this school by your assistance. It deserves it.

    The number of Israelites hailing from Russia, has since a few years, largely increased in our city. Not by dozens and not by hundreds do they now come. It is ...

    Jewish
    III G, I C, III C, I A 1 a
  • The Occident -- August 06, 1886
    (No headline)

    Mr. Jacob Newman, who was recently chosen a director of the University of Chicago has secured nearly $1,000 in subscriptions for that institution thus far. We trust that our affluent Jewish citizens will help to "chip" in a little more and place themselves on record for aiding a grand public house of learning.

    Mr. Jacob Newman, who was recently chosen a director of the University of Chicago has secured nearly $1,000 in subscriptions for that institution thus far. We trust that our affluent ...

    Jewish
    IV, I A 1 a
  • Reform Advocate -- February 20, 1891
    [Compulsory Education, 1891]

    In the year of 1883, the State of Illinois enacted a law for compulsory education of the children between the ages of 8 and 14 years.

    The law makes it compulsory for every person having control and charge of any such child to send it to a public or private school for a period of not less then twelve weeks in a school year. This was done for the welfare of the community, as many of the children, through the selfishness and neglect of parents or guardians, never see the inside of a school room, but grow up without the training and education so necessary in a republican form of government.

    Notwithstanding the great protest issued by friends of private and parochial schools against compulsory education, there has not been, in the City of Chicago, one single instance of interference with parental authority.

    The highest objective of this law is:

    Send your children to school, take them off the streets and if possible, take them out of the stores, shops and factories.

    In the year of 1883, the State of Illinois enacted a law for compulsory education of the children between the ages of 8 and 14 years. The law makes it ...

    Jewish
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  • Reform Advocate -- April 17, 1891
    [Standard Club Meets]

    At the annual meeting of the Standard Club, the following communication from the University of Chicago was read: To the Members of the Standard Club. Gentlemen: I am reminded that a year ago, when we were in the utmost danger of failing in our efforts to secure the establishment of the University of Chicago, the Club came to our relief. The subscriptions your committees handed me aggregated $25,350.00, and enabled me to meet the conditions imposed upon us, and thus secure the establishment of the University. It has been felt by the denomination that inaugurated the movement and by the Board of Trustees of the University, that the action of the Standard Club was one of notable public spirit and liberality.

    It will be held in lasting and grateful remembrance, and we hope to erect on our campus a memorial that will tell the story to coming generations.

    I should like to have the Club know that a greater proportion of the Standard subscriptions have been paid than of that of any other class up to date. There has been paid by your members $14,020.

    2

    This large proportion, much larger than we could demand, has been paid with such cheerfulness and kindness, and with so many expressions of interest as to make my own work of collection easy and delightful. - Yours very truly, G. W. Goodspeed, Sectretary.

    At the annual meeting of the Standard Club, the following communication from the University of Chicago was read: To the Members of the Standard Club. Gentlemen: I am reminded that ...

    Jewish
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